The Snoopy Plate Program Benefits California Museums

art-115-ghee1

A program that has been years in the making combines two of my favorite things: Snoopy and museums.

The Snoopy Plate Program is the brainchild of the California Association of Museums. These special interest license plates raise funds for a grant program to benefit CA museums, to be administered by the California Cultural and Historical Endowment (a state agency). Continue reading

Hai Ho! Hai Ho! It’s Off to Taiko We Go! – In Mt. Shasta: Taiko Classes for Youth

© Lisa Shara; Published at North State Parent

art-115-taiko2

Taiko is an ancient Japanese style of drumming that, in the last half century, has undergone an evolution into an ensemble performing art. If you’ve been fortunate enough to have seen a taiko performance, you may already be hooked on the excitement, skill and team work exemplified.

Julie Bennett has been a member of Northern California’s Shasta Taiko ensemble for 16 years. The ensemble was formed by Jeanne Mercer and Russel Baba over 25 years ago.  Last February Julie began fulfilling a personal dream: “I have wanted to teach taiko to children for a long time,” she says. “Having seen taiko performers who have grown up in the world of drumming, I realize how it can impact a child’s growth and talent, and motivate them to pursue their artistic passions.”

art-115-taiko3“The young people I see in taiko today are centered, focused, extremely dedicated and disciplined.  I am so impressed with their maturity and abilities,” says Julie. In her classes, students work together as a team through exercise, creativity and rhythmic awareness, as well as solo improvisation. Keller King, age 6, was a student in Julie’s first children’s class series. He says, “Taiko was really fun. We learned patterns, how to count to ten in Japanese, and drum beats.”

Movement is an important aspect of taiko, explains Julie. “Taiko is based on the elements of nature: the taiko stance or “kata” (body position) Continue reading

How Does a Small Town & Small School Make Room for Music Education?

© Lisa Shara; Published in North State Parent January 2014

art-0114-mccloud

McCloud is a small rural town on the southern slope of Mount Shasta. It’s also an exemplary model of promoting arts in education – each year the town proves that communities and educators can work together to keep music alive in public schools.

McCloud Elementary School, in collaboration with arts non-profit Young Imaginations, provides music education to its student body of approximately 85 children. Principal Shelley Cain makes sure time is scheduled for weekly music classes. Students in grades 4–8 attend choral classes, and many also attend an after-school SAFE instrumental program designed for their age group. For its younger students, ages 3-8, classes are based on Kodály and Orff methodologies and introduce children to singing, playing instruments, and the mysteries of reading music.

At McCloud’s high school, music education includes a class where students learn piano/keyboard skills and music literacy; additionally the school has a student rock band, led by staff member Jeffrey Westcott. Continue reading

Where Adventure, Dreams, and Inspiration Begin – Raven and the Unicorn Children’s Theater

By Lisa Shara and Daria O’Brien; Published in North State Parent, January 2014

art-0114-Raven-and-the-Unicorn-Childrens-Theater

The Raven and the Unicorn Children’s Theater is a proposed 800-seat theater designed specifically for child-centered performing arts programs and educational opportunities. The theater will be the only Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum-level certified children’s theater in the world, demonstrating environmentally sustainable construction and technologies. Continue reading

Shasta Disabled Sports offers January Ski Buddy Trainings

© Lisa Shara, Published in North State Parent, December 2011

The folks at Shasta Disabled Sports USA (SDS) in Upper CA are some of my favorite Ski Buddies have fun!people. They are all dedicated volunteers intent on sharing their love of the outdoors and their passion for fun – with people of all ages who have a disability of any kind.   During the summer their offerings include rock climbing, fishing, rafting and overnight camping trips.  During winter, SDS offers assisted skiing, both downhill and Nordic, as well as snowshoeing.

Right now Shasta Disabled Sports is gearing up for their annual Ski Buddy Trainings.

If you yourself love to ski, are local to the Mt. Shasta, CA area, and would like to share your passion by helping someone who cannot experience the sport on their own, SDS will train you in helping others who have lost the use of their legs, are blind, or have another disability that would normally prevent them from experiencing the slopes.

Trainings take place from 10am-1pm on Sunday January  8, and Sunday January 23.

Held at the Mount Shasta Ski Park, Ski Park Hwy off Hwy 89 (off Hwy 5).

Info: (530) 925-1531. www.shastadsusa.org

Chico Guild Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary and 43 Year History with North State Symphony Young Artist Auditions

art_0509_guild.jpgThe Chico Symphony Guild, founded in 1959, is celebrating its 50th anniversary year. Now called Chico Guild-North State Symphony, its mission has always been to both support the North State Symphony (NSS), and to nurture young talent.

One way the Guild enacts their mission is through their support and production of the Young Artist Auditions (YAA) event held annually in Chico, and open to junior high, high school and college students of the North State.

Held each February at the CSU, Chico Performing Arts Center, the public is always welcome to watch the audition process, from the Guild’s welcoming address to NSS Maestro Kyle Wiley Pickett’s outline of the audition procedure, to enjoying each contestant’s performance of their selected piece (accompanied by a musician of their choice). All instruments and voice are represented. Continue reading